Friday, October 13

Live: Blood Brothers & Eagles of Death Metal 10/10/06

Judging from the headline alone it sounds like quite the odd pairing of bands, so thankfully for both you and my editor, there is an explanation. It started off as yet another in a string of free Amoeba Records shows that I’ve been attending lately because a.) They’ve been having mysteriously high-quality shows lately and b.) Well, they’re free. The downside of this is, of course, that the nearest Amoeba Records is located in LA. The City of Angels and I have a very love-hate relationship with one another that most commonly falls towards the latter. That said, I would drive pretty much anywhere in the state to see the Blood Brothers put on one of their famed live performances.

Not surprisingly, we were a bit late so we became relegated to the back of the store, but every spot is a good spot when the total cost is zero dollars. The band opened up strong with “Set Fire to the Face on Fire,” the opening track off their new album, “Young Machetes”. Even though the five members, including two lead vocalists, were packed onto a small stage, there was no lack of energy emanating from the band. The drums sounded heavy and crisp, almost more so than on the record and the song pulsed with the manic energy that informed the band’s early records. The rest of the show was slightly less impressive, as it saw the band basically playing the album in order with a few omissions here and there. This is even more of an issue with this particular performance because the majority of the most exciting songs come at the end of “Young Machetes”. Still, disregarding the horrible mistake that is “You’re the Dream Unicorn,” all of the songs were as tight and fun as you’d expect from The Blood Brothers. It’s unfortunate that they fell into the predictable in-store performance blunder of drawing exclusively from the new album they are trying to promote at the time. Predominately picking new songs is one thing, but to entirely neglect your entire back catalogue is just poor judgment. The band’s newest single, “Laser Life” lost a lot of the recorded version’s “too close to emo for it’s own good” sheen and just sounded like a terrifying piano led carnival romp.

As the band winded down with “Giant Swan” (last song on the album, last song at the show, get it?) everyone crowded toward the front of the stage in anticipation of the band signing albums. I’m as much of a starfucker as anyone else, so I was right up there with them, my copy of “…Burn, Piano Island, Burn” firmly in hand. Just about the time the band was signing my friend’s boot (each one of them responding with a shocking amount of band unity with the same questioning, “shoe?”) we received a call stating that the Eagles of Death Metal were playing a show across the street. Now, if you’ve ever been to the Amoeba in Hollywood, you know that across the street stands…a Jack in the Box. So we walked out of the doors of the record store expecting to spend some time cozying up the Jesse “The Devil” Hughes next to the soda machine in a fast food restaurant. A few phone calls later we were informed that we’re quite stupid, and that the show was behind the Jack in the Box in a vacant parking lot. I’m still not 100% sure what the whole situation was, but I do know that it was being filmed, we had to sign waivers and that The Eagles of Death Metal always put on a fucking rock show. Apparently they had played a set earlier in the evening and this time around it was the exact same set only as Jesse put it, “a lot faster.” This is slightly embarrassing, but that show solidifies EODM’s position as the band I’ve seen live the most times (5) only slightly edging out the Pixies (4). That’s not technically a complaint though, simply a fact, as I have yet to be disappointed.

Much of the show is a bit hazy to me because one of my friends couldn’t get into the filming because she didn’t have I.D. and the Sunset Blvd. Jack in the Box is not the most shining of establishments to be late and night, but it was still remarkably enjoyable. They played mostly songs off their second album, but kept to a fairly upbeat set include (from what I remember) “Don’t Speak”, “Cherry Cola”, “Kiss the Devil”, and “Just 19.” During each song different ladies from the audience (which numbered under 100) were invited onstage to dance with the band. These encounters ranged from awesome to incredibly awkward, with some participants seemingly unaware of both who the band was, and why they were on a stage. During the show every member of the band found some way to inadvertently damage their instrument with second guitarist “Darling” Dave Catching going as far as to split his Flying V in half and finishing the job by heaving it against his amplifier. For the final song the entire female portion of the audience made it onstage as the band finished off the show with “Speaking In Tongues.” The entire show was filled with pure rock and roll goodness, even if at times it bordered slightly on parody, it was the best kind of parody; the kind that wears aviator sunglasses and a pretty impressive mustache. I might hate the bitch, but damn it if Hollywood doesn’t always show me a good time.

- Matt Lindsay -

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